Malaysian Security Officers Threaten to Deport Iranian Refugee and Activist
On 10 January 2011, Malaysian security officers allegedly threatened to deport refugee and activist journalist Ali Hosseinpoor Jamshidi back to Iran.
Jamshidi is a coordinator of and contributor to several online pro-Green Movement news outlets and a host on the satellite station Rasa TV. Jamshidi told the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran that, in response to a summons order, he reported for questioning to what he believed was the Malaysian Ministry of Home Affairs, but could have been another government security organ.
Mr. Jamshidi has been recognized by United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Malaysia as a refugee and recommended by UNHCR for resettlement in the United States.
Officers questioned him for approximately two hours about his personal background, relationships, financial resources, and his activism and journalistic work.
Jamshidi told the Campaign that he feared telling the Malaysian authorities about his activism, afraid they would take issue with it. However, they already knew about his work, namely his involvement with Rasa TV. The interrogators presented him with the file containing images of him on Rasa TV.
“They said ‘Your problems with your president don’t concern us. We have good relations with Iran. Iran is a very important country in Malaysia,’” Jamshidi told the Campaign.
Officers reportedly told him that if he continued his activities they would deport him. They also allegedly accused him of violating Malaysian law but did not specify which law.
Jamshidi added that authorities told him, “We haven’t signed [any international conventions]. We don’t care that you are a refugee. If we haven’t deported you by now it is only because of our own humanity.”
Malaysia is not a party to either of the two major international conventions protecting refugees. Moreover, despite being a member of the United Nations Human Rights Council, Malaysia in not a party to any international rights treaties including the International Convent on Civil and Political Rights. Nonetheless, the international principle of non-refoulment, set by the General Assembly in 1967, is considered a party of the Universal Declaration on Human Rights by UNHCR. Non-refoulment forbids from returning refugees to places where their life or security would likely be threatened. Malaysia has stated it guarantees rights enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
In 2011, Malaysia abstained* in the HRC vote to establish the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Iran.
*An earlier version of this article wrote that Malaysia voted in favor of the Special Rapporteur.